For the Dana brothers, playing for the Tri-City Dust Devils is something of a family tradition. And for the Mesa brothers, taking the field for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos was a treat they'd like to repeat. But in both cases, being in pro ball in the same organization as their
For the Dana brothers, playing for the Tri-City Dust Devils is something of a family tradition. And for the Mesa brothers, taking the field for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos was a treat they'd like to repeat. But in both cases, being in pro ball in the same organization as their siblings made Wednesday's National Brother's Day even more special.
Casey and Caden Dana (Angels)
It started with Cullen Dana, a left-handed pitcher drafted in 2018 by the San Diego Padres, then the parent club of Tri-City. After the Dust Devils became the High-A affiliate of the Angels, the organization had a plan for the 2022 Draft: complete the trifecta.
So that year, Los Angeles drafted Cullen's younger brothers -- Casey, a 23-year-old utilityman out of the University of Connecticut, and Caden, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher out of Don Bosco High School in New Jersey. While Cullen is now a free agent, Casey and Caden are playing side by side on the Dust Devils.
“It’s awesome seeing my brother every day,” Casey said. “It brings me a little closer to home, and it’s awesome watching what he’s doing right now.”
For Caden, though…
“I can’t escape him,” the youngest brother joked. “We lived in the same room at home, two different houses, and I get here and I’m sharing a room with him again.”
But seriously, Caden does share the same sentiments as his older brother. The Tri-Danas have always been close, even when they weren't playing on the same team at the same time. Caden, the club's No. 11 prospect, watched Cullen on “laggy livestreams” and loved seeing him pitch for Seton Hall. So being on the same team and growing together as people and baseball players? It’s been a blessing.
“Before the Draft, we’d joke around and say how crazy it would be to be picked up by the same team, then it actually happened,” Casey said. “You can’t draw it up better than that.”
“We always try to make sure our heads are held high, we always pick each other up,” Caden added. “I’m thankful that my older brother played before me, so I got to pick his brain, but now we’re just picking each other’s brains.”
Caden and Casey also rely upon their oldest brother, Cullen. As the veteran of the bunch, the 25-year-old is always there for support, especially when the pair moved across the country to Pasco, Wash., after growing up on the East Coast their entire lives.
“Before Spring Training, he sat us down and basically gave us a heads-up on what to expect before going into the season,” Casey said. “He’s been more than a great mentor for both of us. We’re thankful to have him and have his knowledge.”
The pitching advice is just an added bonus.
“He’s someone I always went to for pitching, because he’s one of those guys that doesn’t have all the stuff, but whenever he goes out, he goes out and dominates,” Caden said.
Victor Jr. and Victor Victor Mesa (Marlins)
Although the Mesa brothers' story has played out differently, it's been no less special.
Back in 2018, Victor Mesa Jr. and Víctor Víctor Mesa made headlines as big international signings for the Marlins organization. For a while, the Cuban brothers never got to play on the same team -- after all, they’re five years apart in age. But when Spring Training rolled around this year, the pair of outfielders took the field at the same time, something Víctor says just about moved his mom to tears.
“I felt excited and proud to share the field together,” said Victor Jr., the Marlins' No. 14 prospect. “I can’t express it, I was so happy I was playing with him and learning with him.”
For a brief time to begin the season, the duo donned Double-A Pensacola uniforms at the same time. Victor Jr., 21, hit for the cycle on April 18 against Birmingham but Victor Victor was dealing with an injury at the time. The 26-year-old was promoted to the Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in mid-May, while Víctor Jr. continues refining his craft with the Blue Wahoos.
Though they're not wearing the same jersey now, Victor Jr. considers himself a sponge when it comes to his older brother’s wisdom -- and it’s his dream to one day play in the bigs with his sibling by his side.
“I listen to him every time he talks to me. I’m so happy to listen to him every time,” Victor Jr. said. “To play with him … that’s not common. It was so nice to have him with me for a little bit at the beginning [of the season].
“It’s something incredible. I never expected that we were going to play together at this time in our lives,” he added. “We’re so proud that we did it. Even if it was for a brief time, at least I enjoyed that time.”
Stephanie Sheehan is an contributor for MiLB.com.